By a significant margin, the most common cause of shoulder pain is rotator cuff injuries. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that hold your arm in the shoulder socket while allowing you to move and reach with your arm. The tendons of the rotator cuff can overstretch or tear just like any other tendons in your body, and they can also get trapped under the bony part of your shoulder.
It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a rotator cuff injury. Some heal with noninvasive treatments and physical therapy, but more severe tears may need surgery. Here at Elation Physical Therapy in Houston and Pearland, Texas, our expert physical therapists Roy Rivera, Jr., PT, PhD, DPT, and Jordan Boyd, PT, DPT, evaluate shoulder injuries and provide physical therapy after rotator cuff repair surgeries.
Here are a few of the most common warning signs of an injury that needs rotator cuff repair:
You have trouble lifting your arm
Reaching outward or upward requires the work of the rotator cuff. When you try to lift your arm with a rotator cuff injury, you experience limited mobility and probably some amount of pain too. The level and location of pain you experience indicate the location and severity of the injury.
A significant loss of mobility indicates a complete tear of one or more of the rotator cuff tendons. Complete tears do not heal at all without surgery, and any resulting loss of immobility is permanent.
During rotator cuff repair, your surgeon reconstructs the torn tendons. With plenty of physical therapy and rehabilitation as you recover, you can restore your arm’s range of mobility and extend your arm again.
Your physical therapists at Elation Physical Therapy help you set goals and work toward a full restoration of shoulder mobility and strength.
Your pain doesn’t respond to conservative treatment
Rest, immobilization, anti-inflammatory medications, and some light physical therapy are a few of the first treatments most experts recommend for pain in the shoulder. If months go by and your pain doesn’t improve even with professional physical therapy, then your rotator cuff tear might be more severe than you anticipated.
Partial tears often heal well without surgery, and as long as you go through a treatment regimen that includes physical therapy, the function of your shoulder improves. However, some partial tears don’t improve quite enough despite treatment.
For partial rotator cuff injuries that don’t necessary require tendon reconstruction, a surgeon can remove inflamed tissue or part of the bone near the rotator cuff to release pressure from its tendons. They can also make minor tendon repairs if they’re necessary.
Is your shoulder pain unrelenting?
For long-lasting shoulder pain or a loss of mobility, schedule an appointment over the phone or online with us at Elation Physical Therapy today.